Tour TypeHistory, Cultural, Ecology
Tour Distance10 kilometers
DifficultyModerate to difficult
ConsiderationsWe will bookyour Inca Trail Permits
SeasonFrom April to December
Trail ClosetIn February
1 Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Summary of the 1 Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
The 1 day Inca Trail, to Machu Picchu will give you chance to hike the short Inca Trail and visit Machu Picchu Citadel and came back to Cusco all in one day.
It is very important to understand that you are doing the same trail as the 2 Day Inca Trail, just more quickly. Trekkers need to be in moderate to excellent physical condition to be able to do this trek and arrive at Machu Picchu Citadel in time. If you think the trek may be too strenuous, you may book the 2 day Inca Trail which arrives to Machu Picchu in one day but at a slower pace later in the day.
For The 1 day Inca Trail, to Machu Picchu will provide a delicious boxed lunch (2 kg/4 lbs) for the first day of this tour, which you will have to carry in your daypack—be sure to leave a little extra space!
- Hike the historic Inca Trail in only six hours
- Visit the amazing Wiñay Wayna ruins at lunchtime
- Walk through the Sun Gate to see your first view of Machu Picchu
- Watch the sunset over the ruins
Overview of the 1 Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Cusco – Km 104 – Wiñay Wayna – Machu Picchu
On the first day, we will pick you up from your hotel/hostel in Cusco. You will then have a one and a half hour bus journey to the town of Ollantaytambo.
- Walking Distance: 10km / 6.21 miles
- Starting Elevation: 3350 meters ASL / 10990 feet ASL
- Highest Elevation: 2730 meters ASL / 8956 feet ASL
- Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
- The new regulations of the Peruvian government regarding the Inca Trail indicate that the guided tour in Machu Picchu after your arrival at the Inca citadel will follow circuit number 3. Therefore, we recommend that you make the most of the opportunity to take all your photographs once you begin the descent from the Sun Gate and reach the viewpoint, where they will take the classic photograph of the entire Inca citadel. See the article about the Inca Trail and its new circuit to visit Machu Picchu.
Day 1 – Cusco – Km 104 – Wiñay Wayna – Machu Picchu- Cusco
Highlight of the day: See stunning scenery as you visit archaeological sites and get your first glimpse of Machu Picchu.
For the 1 Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu we will pick you up from your hotel/hostel in Cusco. You will then have a one and a half hour bus journey to the town of Ollantaytambo. (If you prefer to begin in Ollentaytambo, we will pick you up at your hotel at 5:30am).
Before boarding the train in Ollantaytambo, your guide will provide your box lunch, which you carry in your daypack. After an hour and 15 minutes train ride, you will get off the train at the 104, located at an elevation of 2,200m/7,2600ft. To begin our trek, we will cross over the Vilcanota River via a beautiful bridge, you will show your passport at the checkpoint and visit your first Inca site Chachabamba
After Chachabamba, the trail ascends through a forest until you reach a magnificent waterfall and the Inca ruins of Wiñay Wayna soon after. Wiñay Wayna means “forever young” and is considered one of the Inca Trail´s most beautiful archeological sites. You will have lunch among the ruins before continuing to Inti Punku, the “Sun Gate” Once you will arrive to Sun Gate you will have breathtaking view of Machu Picchu, so take some time to savor the moment and take photos. The last 60 minutes down from the Sun Gate provide many opportunities to take more photos of Machu Picchu from this unique vantage point. There are also a couple more important Inca sites between the Sun Gate and Machu Picchu, so make sure to go slowly, enjoy your time walking in the footsteps of the Inca on the Inca Trail and ask your guide questions about these historical places on the last bit of your hike to Machu Picchu.
Once you reach Machu Picchu, you will have time to take more photos from the viewing platforms above the site, the “House of the Guardians” where you can take the famous postcard pictures of Machu Picchu. You will arrive in the afternoon, as the archeological area starts to empty of tourists, which gives you the opportunity to take beautiful photos in the afternoon light with fewer people in your shots. Your guide will give you a tour, which takes about two hours. You will see some of the most important parts of Machu Picchu. You will also learn about how Machu Picchu is divided into three sectors: agricultural, residential and religious.
Take your time to enjoy this magical experience before you take the bus down to Aguas Calientes. In the evening at 6:20pm you will take the return Expedition Train to Ollantaytambo and catch our private van to Cusco and your hotel. You will arrive around 10:00 pm.
US $390. per person,
We require a minimum of 2 hikers in order to start the trek. If you are a solo traveler- please inquire on the dates you are looking to trek so you can join an existing group.
Discounts for the 1 Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu:
Student Discount with valid student ID card $20
Children under the age of 18 years old $20
Children under the age of 7 years old $50
Important Notice Regarding Student Discounts:
The ISIC card is no longer valid for purchasing Machu Picchu or Inca Trail tickets with a student discount.
Students can still obtain this discount with their student identification card issued by the university where they study, which is the only valid document for this end at this time. For more information, please visit the following link: http://www.machupicchu.gob.pe/items/estudiantes.html
Additional Options the 1 Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Walking Poles (Sticks) $10
Small daypacks $10
Returning train Included in the cost of this tour/trek is the Expedition train, which departs either at 6:20 pm or 7:00 pm and 8:20 p.m. DEPENDING ON AVAILABILITY.
How long is the journey back to Cusco?
You will be traveling for approximately 3 hours before you arrive back in Cusco. First, you will travel for 1.5 hours by train to the Ollantaytambo train station. Then you will be picked up by your driver outside of the train station. The driver will be holding a sign with your name on it so that there will be no confusion. If you do not see the driver initially, wait for them outside of the train station. Once the driver has picked you up, you will travel for another 1.5 hours in a private van/car to your hotel/hostel in Cusco. Arrival time in Cusco will depend on train availability. You will receive your return train tickets once your guide has finished your walking tour of Machu Picchu.
Included the 1 Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu:
- Pick up from your hotel
- Professional tour guide who is fluent in English
- Transfer from Cusco to Ollantaytambo train station
- Expedition train to head of trail (Km 104) on the first day
- Inca Trail entrance fee
- Machu Picchu entrance fees
- Private guided tour of Machu Picchu
- Box lunch on the first day
- Bus tickets from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes
- Expedition train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
- Transfer from Ollantaytambo to Cusco
Not Included the 1 Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu:
- First breakfast & Dinner at Aguas Calientes
- It is not possible to do the Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain climb due to time restraints
- Tips for the guide
What to Bring to the 1 Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu:
- Original passport (it has to be the same you have used for booking your trek)
Good daypack (the smaller, the better)
- Waterproof jacket or rain poncho
- Two t-shirts
- Hand sanitizer
- Comfortable trousers
- Insect repellent
- We strongly recommend to bring your Camel Back and water canteen due to that government of Peru will not allow disposable plastic bottles anymore on the Inca trail and in Machu Picchu.
- Toiletries and toilet paper
Optional Items to Bring:
- Walking stick
- Basic first aid kit
- Extra money (We recommend that you bring some extra soles to cover expenses such as snacks, souvenirs, and drinks)
- Bathing suit for the hot springs in Aguas Calientes
Before you go
Pre-Trek Briefing for the 1 Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
All briefings are done at our office at 6:00 PM the night before your trek. If you are unable to make this time, you need to coordinate another time with a member of the Inti Sun Trek office team. Briefings are approximately 30 -45 minutes long.
Renewal or change passport number?
If you plan to renew or change your name on your passport between making your trek booking and starting your trek, you can book your trek or tour with your current passport number or name, but you must send us a copy of your old passport and a copy of your new passport when you have them. We can then make the change with the government before you arrive. The extra cost to make the change is US$25 per person. (This will cover the change in number or name for your Inca Trail Permit, Machu Picchu Entrance, and train.)
If you do not advise us of the change or do not want to pay the fee, bring the original of both passports (the old and new one). You can enter Peru with your new passport but you must show the government authorities your old passport in order to enter the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu or train. If you cannot do so, you will not be allowed to start your trek by the government officials. All names and numbers must match!!
Inti Sun Trek is one of the only companies to pick you up directly from your hotel. As long as your hotel is in the center of Cusco city,we will coordinate this pickup based on a time that your guide will discuss at the briefing. Pick up times may vary 30 – 45 minutes based on traffic conditions and previous pickups.
Cusco is an old city with cobblestoned streets and very narrow passageways. Very small hotels and Air BNBs are often located on streets that cars can not pass through. They also are often located up on the hillside, with long steep climbs to the property, difficult to maneuver with luggage. We highly recommend that you do not stay at one of these places.
Hiking in the Andes
Is something that everyone can do no matter their age, but it is never easy. You will need some level of fitness to be able to complete it comfortably. Each trial involves inclines that can take your breath away if you are not in shape and downhill hiking that can be tough on one’s knees. Walking sticks are recommended for everyone. Please remember the group treks are open to everyone, all abilities, so be patient and help those struggling with some kind words.
Getting to Cusco
The airport in Cusco is currently only for domestic flights, so all international travelers who arrive by plane must disembark in Lima and go through Customs. Even if your flight to Cusco is the same day by the same airline carrier, you must grab your bags in Lima and then check them back in.
The best way to get to Cusco is by air and there are several options in airlines. LATAM tends to be the most expensive but has the most options and flights.
Expect delays or flight cancellations. Due to the high altitude of Cusco, it tends to be difficult to land and any acclimate weather will stop air traffic. Bus travel is always available and while the trip can be long, especially from Lima, the buses in Peru are very well maintained and comfortable. This option is strongly encouraged if coming from a city closer to Cusco, like Puno. Lima buses will take about 20 hours to arrive.
Storage during your trek to Machu Picchu
Most of our trekkers leave their belongings that they do not want to bring on the trek in the hostel they were previously staying in. These hostels/hotels usually have a secure, locked room where you can securely store your belongings. If you do not trust your hostel, we would be more than happy to store your belongings for you in our office. Make sure your bags have some kind of identification on them so they are easy to locate.
Your Safety is our first concern
Trekking the Andes is not your typical vacation. And most of the people who hike with us have little to no experience with hiking in altitude. We understand the large responsibility we have in ensuring that you are well taken care of every step of the way.
Each year, Inti Sun Trek guides receive training in first aid from a physician. We conduct mandatory training every February to which every single guide attends. When guiding you, they will have with them a first aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts/scrapes, etc.) and oxygen. They know how to make you feel better. It is important to be very honest with your guide as soon as you are experiencing any discomfort. If you suffer from any medical conditions, please let your guide know during the briefing so he is prepared to give you extra attention, if needed.
In case something unexpected happens and you feel you can no longer complete the trek, they will figure out the safest and quickest way to bring you to a clinic. You will never be left alone and will have a member of the team escorting you during every step until you are safely brought to a doctor. When you are feeling better, we will make sure that you still have the chance to visit Machu Picchu and re-connect with your group, traveling by train comfortably.
To protect your travel investment, we highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance. Obtaining travel insurance before you leave home is strongly encouraged and very easy. This is a great way to protect yourself while visiting Peru.
Altitude sickness is serious and has the potential to ruin your trip. The biggest mistake you can make is to fly directly to Cusco and expect to hike the next day. Give yourself several days to adjust to the altitude first. You will thank yourself for this during the trek.
The air at high altitudes contains less oxygen than at sea level and forces your body to work harder to get the oxygen it needs. Over several days at high altitude, your body adjusts to the lower amount of oxygen in the air. This is why we always recommend spending at least two days in Cusco before beginning any trek. If you have more time, it is even better. Cusco is an amazing city with a lot to do, so you won’t be bored.
With altitude sickness, you may first feel like you have the flu or a hangover. You may experience a headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, trouble sleeping or trouble breathing during exercise. If any of these effects become severe, please contact our office and we will help you get to a doctor. Altitude sickness must be taken seriously.
Most of the time, these symptoms will be mild. We always recommend easing into activity slowly, allowing your body to adjust. Drink plenty of fluids such as water or coca tea. Coca tea has been used since ancient times to help prevent altitude sickness. Leaves from the Coca Plant contain alkaloids, which helps bring oxygen into your blood, helping your body avoid the effects of altitude sickness. Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol and coffee. They will cause you to urinate more often and become dehydrated. Avoid smoking. Smoking makes it more difficult for your body to get oxygen. Avoid sleeping pills. They may cause shallow breathing at night, making it more difficult for your body to absorb oxygen while you sleep.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe medicines, such as acetazolamide and dexamethasone, to help prevent altitude sickness. Start the medicine two days before you get to a high altitude. Continue to take it while you are at high altitude.
You must remember that this is your holiday and you do not want to stress out about the possibility of getting sick from the mountains. Do everything slowly. Drink lots of water. And enjoy the coca tea. If anything does happen and you, unfortunately, get sick, let your guide know right away – all guides are trained in how to help you get through it.
Of course the weather is unpredictable. Typically the dry season in Cusco is from April through October, but this does not stop rain from falling in June or the Sun from coming out in December – just be prepared. No matter what month you are doing the trek, please make sure that you have rain gear that includes a waterproof jacket, pants, poncho, and waterproof gloves. Many people forget about gloves, but being cold and wet makes hiking very unpleasant. You will notice that there is a large variation between the minimum and maximum temperatures on the trek. In general, when the sun is out it will be very hot. In this heat, you need to drink plenty of fluids to remain hydrated. The early hours of the morning and night can be very cold. As a result, you need to be prepared for just about every weather condition.
What to wear for the trek
One of the most important investments for this trek is a sturdy pair of hiking boots. Your feet will thank you after the long trek if your shoes are well worn in and waterproof. The temperature varies throughout the trek, so it is best to dress in layers. Avoid cotton, as cotton does not dry quickly and wet clothing will be a problem when the temperatures drop pack for four seasons. Many of the treks through the Andes involve many micro-climates and you will need to be prepared for all seasons. A t-shirt, a long sleeve shirt, a sweater/microfleece, and a waterproof jacket. These items will provide you with enough warmth and will allow you to “peel off” layers as it gets warmer or your body temperature increases. Layers are always key as they are easy to adjust to the different temperatures. And evenings will always be cold, so please be prepared with a warm winter-weight jacket.
During the rainy season
Rain pants are a good idea as we will encounter a lot of mud, rivers, and rain. A plastic poncho is also great because it will keep you and your pack dry. You can also pack your belongings inside of plastic bags to ensure that your belongings stay dry.
Do I need to bring hiking boots?
Hiking boots are recommended, as they provide ankle support to reduce the risk of injury, especially when trekking in the wet season (December – March). However, it is important that your boots are comfortable and well worn-in. Many people prefer to trek in tennis shoes but extra care should be taken. We do not recommend trekking in sandals, using new boots, or renting boots prior to the trek. Make sure the shoes are sturdy enough for the duration of the trek and will not fall apart.
Can I use walking sticks on the Inca Trail?
Many people like to hike with trekking poles or walking sticks. This is fine as long as the poles will not cause damage to the stone paving along the Inca Trail. If the trekking poles have metal spikes, then these must be protected by rubber tips. We recommend bringing some spare rubber tips with you. These rubber protectors can be purchased in Cusco or Ollantaytambo. Wooden walking sticks are fine as long as you bring them with you from home.
Recently, government authorities have stopped trekkers from using wooden sticks that could have come from local forests to prevent deforestation of the protected Andean region.
Strikes in Peru:
A popular way for the people in Peru to communicate unhappiness with the government is to strike. This area sees quite a few strikes a year that can sometimes affect the logistics involved in our tours. Most strikes are well organized and planned in advance so the office will have at least a few hours to make arrangements if needed.
Changes for logistics: Often this involves leaving for your trek the night before. Please understand we will do everything we can to get you to and from the trail and will give you the information you need as soon as we have it. We will always get you to and from the trail very safely.
We use biodegradable soap and transport all our garbage back to Cusco. Our porters are trained to look after the trail and pick up any waste from other groups as well. We also use environmentally-friendly chemical portable toilets that allow us to pack waste out. We believe in leaving no footprint behind.
Are all bus tickets between Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu included?
No, the first two bus trips (from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes on the afternoon of the first day; from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu on the morning of the second day) are included, but a bus ticket for your final descent from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes on the second day is not included. This ticket costs approximately $15.00. It is also possible to hike down to town, which takes about an hour.
Can you pick us up in the Sacred Valley?
Ollantaytambo is the best place to stay other than Cusco. By staying in Ollantaytambo, you actually get a little more sleep because we will be picking you up about 1.5 hours after the Cusco pick up time. However, please be aware that the pre-trip briefing can only be done in Cusco.
Is the 2 Day Inca Trail hike difficult?
The 2 Day Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu features only six hours of walking, which makes it perfect for hikers of all fitness levels or active families. However, we still recommend that you be well prepared, healthy, and at a moderate level of fitness prior to starting the trek. To prepare, try walking 10km a day or start going to the gym a month before the trek. Also try to spend a few days in Cusco adjusting to the high altitude before you start the Inca Trail.
Which part of the Inca Trail does the 2 Day hike go through?
This trail starts at the Km 104 train stop and ascends to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna before continuing on to Machu Picchu. Since we arrive at Machu Picchu in the afternoon, you will not have much time at the site on the first day. We will spend the night in the town of Aguas Calientes and return to Machu Picchu for more exploration the following day.
How many kilometers will we walk on the trek?
We will walk a total of 10 km / 6.3 miles.
At what altitude will the trek start and finish?
We will start the trek at Km 104, located at 2,200m/7,2600ft above sea level. The highest point of the trek is the Sun Gate, located at 2,700m/8,858ft. Aguas Calientes, where we will stay overnight, is located at an elevation of 2,040m/6,690ft.
What type of hostal does Inti Sun Trek use for Inca trek?
At Inti Sun Trek, we always book through El Tambo or Machu Picchu hostals which offer private, double rooms. These hostals offer comfortable beds, hot water for showering, WiFi, and breakfast.
NOTE: We guarantee these hostels will be reserved as per the itinerary if you book your trek at least two months in advance; otherwise, we may be forced to offer substitutes.
Can I book my own accommodation in Aguas Calientes?
You can choose any hotel to stay in Aguas Calientes—it´s a very small town—and absolutely can book on your own. This will reduce the price of your trek by $10 per person. If you choose to book your own hotel, make sure you tell us where you plan on staying so we can get you there safely.
Can I spend an extra night in Aguas Calientes?
Of course. If you are ok with taking the same train out of Aguas Calientes that is part of your original itinerary, which is typically at 6:20pm or 7:00.p.m that evening, than there is no additional charge to simply move the train back a day.
Will we have porters on this trek? How much should I carry on the trek?
For the 2 Day Inca Trail hike we do not employ the services of Porters. You should bring with you only the essentials: passport, rain poncho, camera, water, and a change of clothes. Your pack should not weigh more than 6 kg.
Important: This trail is subject to the Inca Trail regulations and trek permits must be reserved in advance.